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Latest news blog

Barwon Water requests price adjustment

Barwon Water is seeking to adjust its prices for 2012–2013 to help pay for the construction and commissioning of the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline.

We will apply to the independent Essential Services Commission (ESC) for approval to increase prices by an additional 3.5% on 1 July 2012 to recoup more than half the cost of the $80 million project.

The increase would be on top of a 7% (plus CPI) increase already approved by the ESC as part of our 2008 Water Plan.

Our Board yesterday endorsed a formal application to the ESC to re-open our 2008 Water Plan price determination.

If approved by the ESC, a 3.5% increase would equate to about 67 cents a week for a typical customer using 165 kilolitres of water a year.

We intend to fund the remaining costs of the pipeline through debt and improved business efficiencies.


What are the benefits of the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline?

The Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline will provide a back-up drought resource for greater Geelong's water supply by connecting Geelong to Melbourne's water system. The pipeline will ultimately have the capacity to deliver up to 16 billion litres of water a year for the region, equivalent to half our current usage.

The pipeline is not expected to be needed for several years because of recent water security initiatives such as the Northern Water Plant and Anglesea Borefield.


How the price increase will help

Adjusting prices by 3.5% will help recover a portion of the pipeline project costs sooner than anticipated.

Cost recovery would be restricted to a single year, reducing the impact on our customers. It would also ensure prices in the next Water Plan (2013–2018) are kept to a minimum.


Helping our customers in hardship

We are aware that price increases can cause hardship to our customers, particularly at a time when other essential services are becoming more expensive.

We therefore have a range of hardship schemes in place to help customers and to ease the impact of a price increase.  These include:

  • concession card and pensioner card discounts
  • utilities relief grants to help those customers experiencing a temporary financial crisis
  • payment plans to assist in paying bills weekly, fortnightly, monthly or otherwise.

We also provide rebates on a range of water saving products that help customers reduce their water use.

  Media release: Move to recover project costs 


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Explosives required for rock blast

Construction crews working on the Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline will use explosives to break through a section of hard granite rock on Friday 18 November 2011.

Residents east of the You Yangs may hear a blast during the course of the day. We anticipate that just one blast will be required to loosen the rock and it will be over in a matter of seconds.

Control measures will be put in place to ensure the blast is conducted safely.

Motorists in the vicinity of Little River may experience delays of up to 15 minutes.

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Model water restrictions by-law: have your say

The Victorian Government Minister for Water has released a draft model water restrictions by-law for possible adoption by Victorian water corporations, including Barwon Water.

The draft model by-law is the result of a state-wide review, and aims to establish consistent restrictions across Victoria, and incorporate what has been leaned from 5 years of drought.

Good rainfall, new infrastructure and excellent water-saving behaviour have significantly reduced the potential need for water restrictions across most of our region for now and the foreseeable future.

To download a copy of the proposed model by-law and have your say on the changes, visit the Department Of Sustainability and Environment website.

  Department of Sustainability and Environment: model water restrictions by-law

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Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant open day - cancelled

  Update: due to wet weather, this event has been cancelled.

Our Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant is opening its doors to the public.

This facility treats some 50 million litres of residential and industrial sewage every day of the year, and produces recycled water for irrigating crops, golf courses and more.

The Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre.

The Black Rock environmental precinct will soon be home to a new biosolids drying plant and a new recycled water plant.

The new Black Rock Recycled Water Plant will supply high quality recycled water to new residential developments at Armstrong Creek and Torquay North.

Join us for a guided tour of the facility and learn about our exciting plans for the future.


11 am — 3 pm

Sunday 27 November 2011


Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant

Black Rock Road, Connewarre (Google map)

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Water saving grants: apply now

Applications are now open for the 2011–2012 water saving grants program.

$250,000 is available to support to eligible businesses and community groups actively trying to reduce water usage.

The program, now in its third year, has so far seen $450,000 awarded to 15 businesses and not-for-profit groups, resulting in an estimated saving of around 450 million litres of water. 

Successful past projects included:

  • Bellarine Bayside Caravan Park, Portarlington: automatic shower timers
  • Lorne Community Hospital: rainwater tank for emergency fire fighting
  • Winchelsea Men's Shed and community garden: rainwater tank and tank-to-toilet system
  • Curlewis Golf Club: sewer mining project
  • Clifton Springs Golf Club: irrigation dams
  • Chilwell Primary School: replacement of drinking taps
  • Brotherhood of St Lawrence: rainwater tanks for residential housing
  • General Practitioners Association of Geelong: dual flush toilets and water-efficient washing machine. 

Applications for the 2011–2012 funding close Friday 30 December 2011.


More information

  Water saving grants program

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Barwon River greening project

More than 50 disability service users have volunteered their time to plant trees and shrubs, grown at our community nursery, along the Barwon River.

The planting is part of the Green Gym project, a 5-week inititaive getting people active in parks and open spaces. The program also connects conservation groups to people using disability services.

Image shows hunderds of small plants, covered by tree guards, and a number of volunteers in various stages of activity. In the background, a disused aqeduct is faintly visible.

Volunteers planting trees near the disused Barwon Water aqueduct in Breakwater.

More than 50 volunteers from St Laurence, Karingal, Encompass, Leisure Networks and Barwon Valley School have been involved in the Green Gym initiative.

The volunteers have been planting trees, removing non-indigenous vegetation, making tree guards and upgrading tracks near the disused  aqueduct in Breakwater and the Yollinko Wetlands near Balyang Sanctuary. Participants will plant about 2000 indigenous trees and shrubs from Barwon Water's community nursery at the aqueduct site.

The program is helping participants develop a range of new skills to enhance future employment opportunities while contibuting to their local community.

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Update on Anglesea sewer pipe repairs 5

Construction is set to commence on our new sewer pipeline route under the Anglesea River.

A second above ground pipeline will be built this week and will be used during the construction to remove any dirt, mud and sand during the drilling of the new pipeline route.

Pedestrian access to walking tracks and bridges from the west to the east side of the river between Coogoorah Park recreation reserve and Wray Street will be closed from Wednesday 2 November 2011 for about a week during construction of the second pipeline.

It will run alongside the existing temporary pipeline, which is currently transferring recycled water from Aireys Inlet and sewage from west Anglesea to the Anglesea Water Reclamation Plant.

Both temporary pipelines will be removed once the new sewer main is completed.

If you have any comments, concerns or questions, please contact us

  Media release: Anglesea sewer pipeline 



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Water Plan to chart our way forward

The Water Plan is a 5-year business plan that details our service standards, business initiatives, prices and infrastructure. It charts our way forward, and ensures our financial sustainability.

An essential long-term planning component of the plan is the Water Supply and Demand Strategy. This is a 50-year strategy (reviewed every 5 years) which forecasts drinking water demand and identifies supply solutions.

  More on the Water Plan 2013–2018


Input from our community

We're committed to an ongoing discussion with our customers and stakeholders throughout the development of the Water Plan.

So far this year we have sought input at two Geelong water forums, we've met with community members in Colac, and held discussions with local councils. We surveyed community members at the Colac Garden and Lifestyle show and continue to hold open discussions with our consultative committees and community reference groups.

Further consultation is planned for later this year and next. This will include focus groups for small businesses, trade breakfasts, a lunch for local leaders, a community and stakeholder forum and a customer perception survey.

We welcome your feedback, questions or comments at any time.

  Contact us

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National Water Week poster and photo competitions

To celebrate National Water Week in October, we once again hosted our annual poster competition for primary students, plus our photography competition for secondary students, now in its second year.

More than 500 students from 20 schools in our region entered the National Water Week competitions, with some amazing artworks received from all ages.

Abstract artwork of water, trees and bushland.

This poster was submitted in the 2011 poster competition by Grade 3 student Ella Rose of Kardinia International College.  

The winning designs featured at Barwon Water's pavilion at the Geelong Show, and will also appear at next weekend's Colac Show.

The best posters will also appear in a 2012 calendar, available to all schools later in the year.

Student winners receive a range of prizes including art vouchers, signed footballs, personalised jigsaws and canvas prints of their artwork.

Other prizes include a $500 grant for winning schools to purchase water efficient products or educational materials.

We've uploaded a selection of posters, photos and digital artworks to the photo-sharing website Flickr.

  Flickr: poster competition for primary students

  Flickr: photo competition for secondary students

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Anglesea Borefield nearing completion

Geelong's newest water source — the Anglesea Borefield — is nearing completion.

The borefield has been operating since late 2009, when the pre-treatment plant and first 3 bores were commissioned. Drilling is underway on the 7th and final bore, and is expected to be complete later this year.

Final above-ground works are scheduled for early 2012.

When complete, the borefield will supply up to 20 million litres of water a day — the equivalent to the water used in around 35,000 Geelong homes.

An extensive monitoring system has been installed which enables us to measure surface water and groundwater quality. Frog and fish populations, as well as vegetation, are being carefully monitored.

The borefield operates under a bulk entitlement issued by the Minister for Water, which is regularly reviewed.

As part of the first review, we will undertake an intensive monitoring program over the next 12 months. The aim of the program will be to gather additional information on the sustainability of the borefield and to further mitigate any potential environmental impacts.

  Anglesea Borefield

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